Remembering Spock

Like most nerds of a certain age, I grew up watching Star Trek. And, of course, the character I most identified with was Spock (I had a huge crush on Lieutenant Uhura, but that just goes without saying).

I admired Spock. Practically worshiped him. I wanted to emulate him. I tried suppressing my emotions (not very successfully at times); I practiced for hours to raise a single eyebrow like Spock did whenever he was interested in something; and, of course, I trained my fingers to do with the traditional Vulcan salute. I tried combing my hair the same way he did, but that never worked out. In recent years, I’ve even tried to develop a viable worldview based on logic and reason —o’thia — that would pretty much solve the world’s problems (like Surak did in Diane Duane’s novel Spock’s World). I never succeeded, obviously.

Much has been written about why the character of Spock appeals to nerds everywhere. Even President Obama wrote, “Before nerdery was cool, there was Spock”. His appeal is due to his status as an outsider who still an important player. His ability to employ reason and logic over emotion, while still occasionally falling victim to his half-human emotional side, certainly is attractive.

And Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed Spock pretty much his entire life, and whose credentials as an actor, director, and poet are beyond dispute, was, by all accounts, a kind and generous man who gave of his time and self to others. He served in the Army, fought against the Vietnam War, championed equal pay for equal work for Nichelle Nichols, and so on. He was definitely someone that we can all respect and admire, and rightly so.

His last post to Twitter was poignant. He had been suffering from COPD for over a year, and I have no doubt that he knew his time was nigh.

He lived long. He prospered. May we all do likewise.

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